Part II: Marketing Tips from the Realm Makers Conference

Welcome back everyone to part two in our marketing takeaways from the Realm Maker’s conference!

Remember this formula we looked at last week?

Strategy:

  1. Assets
  2. Pipeline
  3. Relationships
  4. Tracking data

In last week’s post we talked about the asset and relationship pieces of the strategy formula. This week, we’re going to deep dive into the pipeline and tracking data part.

First, let’s take a look at the big picture view of how to capture people in your pipeline.

Attention

If you’ll remember from last week, pipeline refers to HOW people find you and it’s all about getting people’s attention. Capturing attention is hard. Most of us are getting daily emails from multiple accounts, Instagram messages, Facebook messages, texts, notifications from our blog, GroupMe, and maybe even WhatsApp and Signal. That’s without even turning on the TV, Twitter, or checking the internet!

Over time, our attention spans have decreased. It’s estimated that today Millennials have the attention span of twelve seconds and Gen Z only lasts eight seconds before you’ve lost them. In comparison, goldfish have an attention span of nine seconds.

This means you have to capture people’s attention FAST.

So how do you do that? This goes back to last week’s post about relationship building. Start by knowing your ideal readers really well. Interview a couple of your beta readers and expand from there.

Are your readers women between the ages of 25-45 who love cats and baking? Consider using a cat or cookie in your social media posts and/or ads. Are your readers sci-fi fans who geek out on the latest tech trends? Ask your cousin who works in AI if you can interview him for your blog.

Find ways to provide relevant and meaningful content to your readers that will instantly capture their attention. What’s next? This is where Caleb Breakey’s next formula comes in:

Advertising goal:

  1. Eyes: Capture attention
  2. Heart: Capture emotions
  3. Feet: Tell them where to go

This next part, the heart, is where your book’s theme meets the reader’s need.

For example:

Are you struggling to forgive yourself from something that happened in the past? OR Are you a perfectionist crippled by decision making?

How will your book help your reader?

Once you’ve captured their attention and hearts, the last thing to do is give them a call to action. What is it you want your potential reader to do? Sign up for your email newsletter? Check out your blog? Add you on social media? Make it clear in the final part of this formula.

Ok, now that we’ve taken a high level look at how to get people in your pipeline funnel, let’s take a closer look at a few different social media platforms and get really specific about how to apply some of these principles.

Email Tips

Now we come to the dreaded topic of email. Dun. Dun. Dun.

Names and emails are the currency of the internet. They’re gold to us writers.

Caleb Breakey

Emails are important because they allow us to own our own data. Google, Facebook, Instagram, and any other platform, can change the algorithms in a second and thus change our tactics and effectiveness. But with emails, we are in total control of our data and how we want to reach people.

While some people love email, most authors I’ve talked to loath it and see it as a necessary evil. I’ve found there are usually two reasons for this: 1) it takes up a lot of time 2) it doesn’t seem to be working for them.

It’s true, email marketing can take up a lot of time but it doesn’t have to. Once you set up the basics it should run on auto pilot for new people learning about you. Then it should be less work to churn out a new email every month or several months, or whatever you decide your cadence should be. Also, if you have the money for it and really just hate email marketing, consider hiring a college student or an intern to help you do it.

But what about email marketing’s varied results? Why do many writers struggle to see positive gains?

Caleb Breakey pointed out that most often this is because email marketing becomes a way to sell books. Each email is a nothing more than a pushy add. Remember what we talked about in our last post about giving to the reader first before asking for anything in return? The same principle applies to email marketing.

When someone signs up for one of Caleb B.’s emails he always immediate sends them a thank you video and tells them a little bit more about him and what they can expect from his books. In fact, his first five emails to a new subscriber are all meant to be entertaining and fun and not sell anything at all. It’s not until he’s built a relationship with his readers that he mentions his books more.

Another thing to thing about is:

How can you bring story into your email marketing?

An example of great email storytelling from Caleb B. is how he’ll respond to emails. He’ll pretend he’s the villain from his book. Talk about creative! Readers are delighted and surprised to see the effort he puts in his responses and newsletters. What can you do that will capture the attention of your readers and keep your emails from being deleted?

Once you’ve gotten these basics down, there are a few other practical tips you can look at for bolstering your email list.

Email marketing ideas:

  • Consider giving away a prequel, short story, or the first few chapters of your novel to people who sign up for your email newsletter.
  • Team up with another writer and do an email list swap.
  • Map out your first 5 emails and what you hope to accomplish in each one with your new subscribers.
  • Co-market your novel with other writers in similar genres. Maybe give their book a shout out in one of your newsletters or vice versa.

But don’t stop there! Track your email performance. Are people opening your newsletters? How much time are they spending on your email? Are there certain emails that do better than others? Can you figure out why? Tracking will help you make your emails even more relevant and effective.

Facebook Tips

If you’re going to go with Facebook marketing consider leveraging “look alike audiences.” These are audiences whom Facebook have identified as similar to other audiences. It’s sort of like checking out on Amazon and being told: “people who bought this item frequently also bought…”. Facebook is doing the same thing with trying to figure out which groups look similar.

Why does this matter?

If you have a group of people on Facebook who you know are interested in your sort of book, your goal of advertising is to find more potential readers like them. This is why having emails is important.

It usually takes around 1K emails being uploaded into Facebook for the algorithm to get a good feel for what similarities exist in that group that it can then leverage to find another similar group. As you market to these “look alike audiences” you will start to get people clicking your ads and you can refine your messaging and target group. That’s what tracking is all about–helping you optimize your tactics.

Amazon Tips

  • Try promoting books 2 or 3 in a series on 99 cents day. Often times, it will get your book in front of readers and they’ll end up going back and buying book 1 for the full price without even taking you up on your discounted offer.
  • When offering discounted pricing on Amazon, target 99 cents, $2.99, or $4.99. These have been tested by Michael Anderle (digital book marketing guru) and have shown the highest return. Avoid marketing books down to $1.99 as that price point typically doesn’t sell well.
  • When writing blurbs for Amazon (or anywhere) ask questions, don’t give statements. Again, Michael A. has tested this format and found generating questions are what interest readers. If you’re not sure how to do this, read best seller blurbs on Amazon or sign up for Book Club’s emails and read the blurbs they have.
  • Hone your “also boughts” lists

A little bit more explanation on that last tip.

Just like Facebook has “look alike” audiences, Amazon has “also bought” audiences. Use the same strategy we discussed for Facebook for targeting these “also boughts”. One important note about targeting these folks though…

Often times, when a new writer releases a book on Amazon, the first people to buy it are friends and family, not necessarily avid readers. The problem with this is it messes up Amazon’s algorithms. Their “also bought” recommendations are now based off of your mom, brother, and uncle rather than what you actually want it to be based off of aka people who buy lots of books.

To avoid this, make sure to strategically select readers for your “also boughts” from the get go. This will help the algorithms train faster and learn to target the right people for any future advertising.

Alright, that it’s for now folks. Again, there was plenty other great content at the Realm Maker’s conference but I couldn’t be at multiple places at once and sometimes just couldn’t write fast enough! I highly recommend you check out the Realm Maker’s website for the full replays or to sign up for next year’s conference.

Practice:

  • For the aspiring author: Write a short piece of fiction and submit it online. Experiment with using that short as a freebie giveaway for your email sign up or for other marketing purposes.
  • For the published author: Select one platform you think your readers are most likely to be on. Spend a couple bucks each day experimenting with ways of reaching your readers. Track what works and doesn’t and adjust your tactics accordingly.

Candace

Candace signing off to go make a cup of tea and work on submitting her first flash fiction piece. Eek! Any tips?

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